CFP: “Performing Political Loyalty Across the Early Modern World,” Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, Milwaukee, WI, USA, 26-29 October 2017

“Performing Political Loyalty Across the Early Modern World
Call For Papers – Sixteenth Century Studies Conference 2017 Milwaukee, WI, USA – 26-29 October 2017

In the early modern world, political loyalty needed to be reinforced actively, publically, and repeatedly. Loyalty could only be trusted when it was made visible and acknowledged. However, loyalty could be extorted, cultivated, and repudiated through performances that were public/private, theatrical/literary, diplomatic/popular. Loyalty could also be superficial, invented, and criticized by observers. Loyalty and partisanship are two fundamental themes of early modern diplomacy, civic ritual, and public festivities (both secular and ecclesiastical) that act as emblems of much deeper social dynamics and processes.
This Call For Papers is open to scholars focusing on any of the many aspects of how early modern people performed loyalty in a variety of places and spaces. Presentations could focus on the following aspects of the performance of loyalty across the earl modern world from 1450-1700 CE:

  • The image/representation of loyalty
  • The role of festive diplomacy in expressing loyalty
  • The tyranny of distance: how colonies or territorial possessions asserted loyalty to the imperial capitol or monarch
  • Balancing multiple public loyalties: e.g., ecclesiastical and secular, local and imperial
  • Patronage dynamics as an expression of loyalty
  • Public versus private performances of loyalty; different stages for performances
  • The cultivation and/or the withdrawal of loyalty performed
  • Performance as competition – e.g., between confraternities, groups, individuals, etc. – to advance own status and agenda

Please send a half-page curriculum vitae, a title, and a 250-word abstract of the proposed presentation to Jennifer Mara DeSilva ( Please detail any A/V requirements that you might need.
For more information about the SCSC, please see the conference website:
The deadline for the submission of abstracts is April 7, 2017.